Spine Surgeons: What is the Most Important Thing Legislators Can Do Right Now?


Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question is: What do you consider the most important development in spine surgery that occurred in 2011? Please send responses to Laura Miller at laura@beckershealthcare.com by Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 5pm CST. Limit responses to five sentences or less.

Q: What is the most important thing legislators can do right now to have a positive impact on spine care?

Dennis Crandall, MD (Medical Director, Sonoran Spine Center, Mesa, Ariz.): Repeal ObamaCare. In its place, we need healthcare reform that does not bankrupt the country, allows patients choice of physician, does not suppress innovation and new technology, and reform that allows for the emergent care of those without the ability to pay.

Ara Deukmedjian, MD (Founder, Deuk Spine Institute, Melbourne, Fla.):
Passing laws that prevent insurance companies from creating their own policies for determining what is medically necessary and appropriate spine care. Only a patient's treating physician should have the ability and responsibility to determine what testing and treatment is necessary for their patient's health and wellbeing. Currently insurers are unilaterally creating new policies aimed at restricting healthcare delivery to their beneficiaries at an alarming rate. Under the current system with the health insurance companies determining what is medically necessary, care is no different than having the proverbial "fox guard the henhouse."

Michael Gleiber, MD (Founder, Michael A. Gleiber, MD, PA, Jupiter, Fla.): Legislators must realize that cutting Medicare reimbursement in January 2012 will have a negative impact on patient care as all spine surgeons have watched reimbursement decrease over time. It will also inundate the ERs when these patients could easily be seen in the office setting, thereby lowering costs and the need for potential unnecessary tests in the acute care setting.

Paul Slosar, MD (President, SpineCare Medical Group, San Francisco Spine Institute):
Eliminate the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) in Obamacare.

Related Articles on Spine Surgery:

NASS Next Year: Dr. Michael Heggeness on Goals & Challenges for 2012

Minimally Invasive TLIF Has Economic Benefits Over Open Surgery

Leading the Charge for Outpatient Spine Surgery: 5 Points From Dr. Walter Eckman

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